The Wisconsin women’s soccer team finally gets to return to normalcy today when they take the field at the McClimon Soccer Complex. The game also marks the beginning of the long road to becoming Big Ten Champions. UW (3-1-1) will open its Big Ten season against Purdue tonight, (3-2) followed by a match against Indiana (3-1) on Sunday.
Purdue comes into the contest coming off a 2-0 loss at the hands of Oakland, a team UW defeated earlier this year. Indiana, who will play Northwestern later today, will arrive in Madison having only played once in the last 12 days due to the terrorist attacks.
After blanking Evansville in a double-overtime win Monday night, UW has the advantage over both teams. Coming in on a three-game winning streak with its most recent game only days ago, UW should be more than prepared for the conference’s opening weekend.
Purdue has struggled with consistency over the young season. The Boilermakers have outscored their opponents 8-2 in their wins but have been outscored 4-1 in their two losses.
“We need to learn to set our own tone early-on in the game,” said Purdue head coach Rob Klatte. “We just need to put both sides of our game together, equally.”
Sunday’s matchup against Indiana should prove interesting. The Hoosiers’ previous two games have both been decided in overtime, much like UW’s, but the Hoosiers have managed only to split the contests. Notre Dame defeated Indiana 2-1 before Indiana was able to register its first overtime win over Xavier.
The Hoosiers pride themselves on the stingy defense that has only allowed two goals through four games. All three of Indiana’s wins so far have been shutouts.
“I am very happy with our team right now,” said Joe Kelly, Indiana’s head coach.
“They train hard. They learn things every day. They really do. I like the confidence they have in themselves and in their teammates.”
UW has the table set for a competitive weekend against two quality teams and a chance to jump atop the Big Ten standing. Keeper Kelly Conway is ready to add to her shutout tally. The other Kelly (Kundert) is awaiting her chance to show the Big Ten she is for real.
Offensive Player of the Week: The Badger freshmen have already made a name for themselves and plan only to impress further, and UW head coach Dean Duerst will look to build on his No. 23 national ranking.